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Ah, I can still hear the popular refrain from two years ago, “we have to follow the science!”
Well, let’s see how closely we have to follow the science now that science has spoken on mask mandates:
I’m not going to suggest we get all snarky about this. If you were one of the gullible who bought into the mask hoopla, please accept that you were wrong with humility and remember this in the future.
Lest you believe the chart above is fake and likely produced by some anti-vax right-wing Trump supporting tabloid,
Try the former New York Times science correspondent, John Tierney for the City Journal. Via Power Line.
Well, part of that isn’t left-wing… but you gotta ask yourself, would the left-wing actually give you the story straight?
Don’t count on it. More on that later. In the meantime, burn those silly things.
The Great Pillow Proviso; How I Went From Wracked with Pain to Feeling Half My Age… with Nothing More than a Different Pillow
Now, you might be wondering how this has anything to do with fitness or cycling, but if you’re too much pain to want to ride, guess what?!
I wrote about this before but the difference in how I wake up in the morning is so stark and astonishing, I felt I had to give it one more post. The reason for the surprise was that I went from fine to hurting so badly when I woke up in the morning that I had to head straight to the medicine cabinet for a couple of AdviNol (Advil & acetaminophen) just so I could get moving in only three days.
I was hurting after the first night on the new mattress. I put that to bowling. On the second morning, I was worried that maybe I’d been mistaken about the new mattress. I couldn’t figure out why my lower back and hips were in so much pain all day long.
I woke up in the middle of the night on night three on that brand new mattress that should have been perfect for me thinking, “What in the f*** is going on here?!” I put the pillow I’d been using on the floor and laid back with my head on the mattress with no pillow and I could literally feel the pain begin to melt away. After a few minutes I grabbed the second pillow that had been between the mattress and the wall at the head of the bead and slept the rest of the night on that. This pillow is nothing special, I’ve had it for years, but it fits my head and neck just right. The other pillow, the one that caused all of that pain and now resides permanently betwixt the mattress and wall, is one of those new-fangled memory foam pillows that cost an arm and a leg and is all the rage. It should have been spectacular for what my wife paid for it.
I woke up two-and-a-half hours later feeling much better. The next morning I felt even better and by the third morning I felt like I’d gotten a perfect night’s sleep and felt like I should. No pain meds, up and at ’em long before the alarm. On the fourth, I felt younger than my 51 years… like I expected I would sleeping on a brand new, perfectly fantastic mattress. Here we are two weeks later and I actually look forward to going to bed at night – I’d rather sleep in our bed than on the couch.
The only difference being a pillow that works and one that doesn’t. I have no advice on how to pick a pillow, because I have no idea why my cheap pillow works and the expensive one makes me feel like I’m 90. I just know my experience. I do know this, I’m going to pay a lot more attention to my pillows in the future. I can’t believe the difference!
Yesterday was our first evening ride after Daylight Saving Time fell back. This means dark descends long before my cycling buddy and I can get a ride in. So we charge up the headlights and taillights and roll out. On gravel bikes. On dirt roads.
Our dirt roads have potholes. Lots of potholes. Potholes slow traffic. And this is good.
Every year I go through the same progression. I love the speed of road riding so I stick mostly to paved roads through the summer. I dig the gravel bike out, hit the dirt roads, pick a day that’s way too dusty, realize I don’t like dirt too much, pick another day that’s way too muddy, realize I love playing in the mud but hate trying to clean the bike after, hit “fall back” Daylight Saving Time, become friends with dirt roads again because there’s no traffic on them, realize how much I love my gravel bike even though it’s ridiculously heavy (by my standards, not historical), enjoy the dirt roads even more – especially when the dirt freezes up and it’s too cold for skinny tires. Freezing temps mean no mud.
This year, I’ve added a few wrinkles to the enjoyment of playing in the dirt.
I’ve become much more trusting of my gravel bike not withering away in a pile of rust when it gets muddy. I know how to spray it off so the bearings don’t get messed up and I use a soft-bristled brush to get the stuck-on mud off while I’m spraying it down. Then I dry it off, lube the important parts and, amazingly, nothing rusts or rots (except the jockey wheel plates – oops). I also know how to clean out the disk brakes so they don’t grind, catch, rub, click or squeal. I clean the bike, including the bottom bracket and headset, regularly. My bearings still look new.
And so it was, Chuck and I rolled out for our first dusk-to-dark ride of the year. The temperature was glorious, 61 falling to 55 as we were to finish – enough you could almost justify shorts and short-sleeves. Not quite, though. I had a long-sleeved thermal and knee warmers and a light cap. Almost a little over-dressed with the thermal, but once the sun went down it turned out to be the perfect choice.
We rode 21 miles together, most of it side-by-side talking about fun stuff to talk about, and were passed by a grand total of two cars on the dirt part of the ride (we do a mix of groad on the weekdays – it’s a real word, gravel and road). The dirt was in perfect condition last night. Hard packed, no dust, minimal potholes (just enough to keep the traffic slow), and zero mud.
It was, without question, a perfect ride. See, in our little slice of America, when we’re on the dirt roads with our bike, we’re treated like we belong there by other motorists. I don’t know if it’s that motorists don’t mind ceding dirt roads to us as bicycle territory or that the enema nozzles in pickup trucks are concentrated on the paved roads. In the end, I suppose I just need to be thankful we’ve got a place where everyone waves at us and gives us three to eight feet as they pass.
This year’s dirt season has arrived, and I’m glad it’s here. I can’t give up the speed of road riding, but I don’t mind it when it’s time to put the trainer wheel on the road bike and take the gravel bike out to play.
One thing is certain for we part-time bike mechanics, we get a lot of practice maintaining the gravel bikes.
Ride hard my friends. The other option is polishing the couch with your fanny, and while it may sound good for a minute, sooner or later you find that sofa sucks the life right out of you.
Knee-Slapper of the Day from Dr. Anthony Fauci: “We’ll have to wait and see” if we can gather for Christmas…
Never in my adult life can I remember the Washington Bubble being so off from the rest of the country. It’s absolutely astonishing to watch. Better, I’ve also never seen so many of those empty suits caught exhibiting behavior contrary to that which they preach.
Over the weekend, when asked by a reporter if families would have to limit their family Christmas visits for a second year, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, ““It’s just too soon to tell. We’ve just got to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at a particular time. Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to get those cases down, and we can do it by people getting vaccinated. And also, in this situation where boosters are appropriate to get people boosted“
I get together with my family because it’s Friday. You’re literally nuts if you think I’m limiting my family visits after I’m vaccinated (and likely had Covid in March of 2020). After all that we’ve been through, I’m amazed that, not only are these knuckleheads talking about people limiting their Holiday plans (and Christmas is a capital “H” Holiday), after they’ve demonstrably broken their own advice so often, what’s shocking is they think sane people are listening in the first place!
I can promise you, I’m no less sophisticated and vaccinated than the ex-president and his friends who partied hard (and unmasked) for his birthday. I’ll be doing the same this Christmas, regardless of what any political hack has to say about it. Come to think of it, there won’t be any booze at our family gatherings, so those gatherings will be even more sophisticated. Technically.
Months after recovering from mild cases of COVID-19, people still have immune cells in their body pumping out antibodies against the virus that …Mild COVID-19 induces lasting antibody protection
We visited a fully free state over the weekend and there was some hand wringing from vaccinated people about all of the people milling about without masks… comments about how scary it was.
I, on the other hand, had read the science and not the newspapers, so I was perfectly content.
Imagine my lack of surprise when Tony wrote the post above… based on science and all we’ve known about disease over the last five or ten decades.
Gotta love the hype. I feel sorry for those who continue to buy into it.
The Surprising Consequence of Going Through the Vaccine Flu that Isn’t Talked About (Likely Because It’s GOOD)
What I’m about to describe has happened to everyone I know who has struggled with the first or second shots (or in my case, both). I haven’t heard or read a peep about this – and when I fill out the CDC questionnaire, they really don’t give an opportunity to riff about your experience. I’ll go with my second shot because it’ll make for a shorter, more readable post. For the first, and the long version, stretch the bad stuff out over a full week and add about 20% to the intensity of the symptoms. Thank you, my most excellent immune system.
My wife and I got my second jab Friday, expecting to sail through it because I had such a rough go with the first. My wife felt her symptoms come on first, just three hours after getting stuck. I, however, felt quite good three hours in. I was relieved. For exactly 1 hour and 58 minutes. My symptoms washed over me like the second 10′ wave on an ocean beach… the first is all giggles as it peaks just over your head… you’ve jumped and it catches you a little off guard, but you’re good and you bob down on the back of the wave. Then the second wave smacks you like a train right in the arm and topples you, dragging you across the bottom for a second. In the space of fifteen minutes I went from smiling to a shivering, sore, pile of I’m not moving from this couch, somebody put in a movie, please. Tylenol, or the preferred Advil Dual Action, would take the edge off the symptoms but would invariably lead to me going from freezing with two blankets on to sweating profusely with my robe flung open and both blankets discarded in just a t-shirt and fleece pajama pants. This would repeat every seven hours (and, of course, you’re only supposed to take two ADAs every eight hours). I went to bed Saturday night knowing I’d be a wreck for Sunday as well.
I slept in a couple hours longer than normal and woke up vastly improved and quite happily surprised. I went for a decent, easy ride with my friends but kept it to the couch and rested up for the remainder of the day. I felt better, but I didn’t feel all that great, either.
Then Monday hit. I felt I didn’t sleep long enough, but when I was up, I was up so I just rolled with it. The day buzzed by because I’m outrageously busy and long about lunchtime, I felt energized. It wasn’t emotional relief, either, I simply felt good. I realized I’d been feeling better than normal most of the morning and it lasted throughout the day and night, into this morning (and I’m hoping into this evening because it’s Tuesday night, baby).
I’m not the only one to experience this, either. Every person I know who had a tough time with either of the vaccine pokes has experienced something similar. With my first shot, after the week of hell I went through, the week or two after… well, it was worth it… I’ve got a great description, actually. So, imagine you’re a big rechargeable battery (in a sense, we are, though we recharge with sleep, beef and bacon). Now, imagine you get left on the charger a little longer than normal and instead of the charge stopping at 100%, you actually fill up to 105%. That’s how it feels, like I’ve got an extra 5% in the tank.
It has its limits, of course. By the time I hit 4 in the afternoon yesterday, driving home from work, I was done. I suited up for a ride, but it was a short easy spin (I was supposed to attend my youngest’s honor award ceremony last night but her tennis match went long so she missed it – entirely her choice and I was not bummed she made that one).
Anyway, point being, if you’ve got some trepidation about getting the vaccine in the first place, it’s not all bad news, doom and gloom if you feel symptoms. The feeling of being super-charged at the end is quite wonderful.
It is currently 5:40 in the am, Sunday. I got a full seven hours of sleep last night and my vaccine flu broke sometime during that stretch in bed. I sweated through two t-shirts last night, one before I went to bed was drenched and I didn’t even know it till I took it off (my fever was so intense, the moisture wasn’t even cold). This is much better than the first shot for me. With the first, it was a full week before I was back to normal, or to put it closer to where I’m at this morning, it took me five days to feel as good as I do after a day-and-a-half.
I was hoping to sail through the second shot after my body’s enthusiastic reaction to the first, but it just wasn’t to be. However, this’ll do. I was certain I wouldn’t be riding today when I went to bed. As I sit here, I don’t think there’s any question I’ll suit up this morning – in fact, my Dual Action Advil just wore off… I would have started shivering an hour ago if there wasn’t significant improvement over the night.
In my post yesterday, I wrote harshly about a woman my wife and I ran into at the bike shop. Her take on Covid was highly irrational and her behaviors in that regard were even less rational.
A friend whom I’ve been following for years commented:
I understand your frustration. In fact, I share it. But, this covid thing is highly emotional and I think you just need to be patient with people like that lady. I find it too easy to condemn her and be annoyed with her. But, a lot of people have died from this and there are those among us who are afraid of catching it. Don’t look for rationality where it doesn’t exist, even if you think it should, or ought to. She had an emotional response. I consider this subject to be the same as religion, unions and politics. Don’t argue because you aren’t going to change anyone. All you will do is fuel the emotional fire.
[ED. Emphasis provided by me]
Tony is right. I have no doubt I’m suffering Covid fatigue, but that’s not an excuse. Here’s my response:
You make an excellent point, Tony. While it doesn’t exactly fit, I can absolutely tailor it to fit me. As a recovered alcoholic working a daily recovery program, looking at myself first is normal… most people don’t possess the ability to look at their own lives and deduce that what they’re doing is slightly irrational. Thanks for opening my eyes, it’s appreciated.
Gotta work on that empathy. That’s one [area] I can use a lot of improvement.
Today I’m thankful for being on the mend… and possessing the ability to remain teachable. Now it’s time to get the bike ready for a spin! WOOHOO! I’m done, baby! Almost back to normal. And it’s been far too long.
And Sometimes You Get the Horns… Vaccine Flu Pt. 2: This One Might Be Enough for a Day on the Couch.
I had high hopes for my wife and I on the occasion of our second poke yesterday. I saw myself sailing through it. I’d hydrated, taken my Vitamin D, even got some early miles on the bike because I played hooky for my second shot so I would be resting comfortably at home as the vaccine took hold.
Immediately after the shot I felt a little off, but I put that to being hungry. We went to our favorite restaurant and took care of that issue and I felt quite good. My wife started with a low fever first, about three hours after her jab. I was doing maintenance on the bikes and feeling quite fantastic. I stayed hydrated and thought, finally, I was going to sail through the second.
Two hours later I was cold and I degraded quickly. My arm hurt like it stopped a hammer though the rest of the symptoms weren’t near as bad as the first shot, so I thought maybe I could sweat it out. I was a wreck by bedtime. I was sore, but again, not as bad as the first shot… also, the first shot took me a day to react harshly to, this one hammered me in five hours.
I went to sleep after taking a couple of Tylenol to help me sleep through the aches. At two in the morning, apparently that Tylenol wore off because I was hurting pretty bad. I rolled out of bed and took a couple more Tylenol and set on the couch to write this. The pain meds did their trick and I’m not feeling so bad again… actually, other than the sweating I feel quite good… and I’m going back to sleep.
Maybe I’ll be one of those who, after a day and a nap wakes up to feel better and recharged? Fingers crossed. We’re riding in six hours.
After that nap I’m feeling much better… I just may give it a go after some research that “experts” said it should be okay to exercise after the shot, and my butt is longing for my Venge.
Update: it was the Tylenol. I feel like
My wife just took my temp: 101.2.
In funny Covid-19 news, Sanjay Gupta recently said,
I wonder if you know where this is going… when did we start wearing masks outdoors?!
That would be a never. Now, granted, you can’t actually see anyone’s face in that photo… you’re just going to have to trust me. There are none. And certainly not now that the susceptible seniors are vaccinated.
In fact, that report was from yesterday. This is from the CDC two weeks ago, for Easter celebrations:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart.
- Visit with unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease.
Now, I wonder why the left in the United States are so ill-informed.
Here’s a better one. We were at the bike shop yesterday and a woman comes in with a mask covering her mouth only. My wife offers that we’d just gotten our second shot. She, of course, backs up six more feet on top of the five already between us and says, “Oh, my, you’ll have to stay away from me. I’m not getting the vaccine because I spoke with four doctors who recommended not to, and you’ll be protein shedding for another two weeks.”
I responded, “Good luck with that [not getting the vaccine]”.
She went on for a minute that we were a danger to others for two weeks. I laughed and walked away. If “protein shedding” were a thing, I’d have heard about it already.
Now, humorously, my wife let me in on the fact that this very woman is taking HGH and has been trying to recruit my wife into a multiple tier marketing scam. And she’s on the stuff.
So let’s take an accounting:
- She walked into the shop with her mask down below her nose. The word “useless” comes to mind.
- She’s on HGH but the vaccine is just a bridge too far – and four doctors have told her not to get said vaccine.
- First, why is it always four doctors? And are all of the kooks talking to the same four doctors?!
- Aaaand better still, all of that and she’s nutty enough to believe in “protein shedding”. In vaccinated people.
God help us all.
It was raining Monday so I had no problem with a day off the bike. The weekend was filled with big, hard miles and I’ve got a new focus for this year that won’t have so much “gotta ride every day” to it so when Tuesday was unseasonably cold well, I didn’t have a problem taking another day off. Snow flurries hit Tuesday night – we had an inch and some change sitting on the ground when I got to the office Wednesday morning. Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, yesterday was cold with more wind. That new outlook of mine is only going to go so far. I just couldn’t take another day off, but I had no desire to ride outside…
I decided to swap out rear wheels and put my bike on the trainer.
Two minutes into my session and I realized why I’ve had such good spring roll outs these last two years… that 45 minute session was hard.
I’d run Star Wars Rogue One in the Blueray player and started out in what I thought should have been an easy gear. A minute into it, with the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround blasting, I was huffing and puffing… and starting to sweat already. I was showing a paltry 16-mph on the Garmin but the speed sensor runs slow (I was closer to 19). After a good warm-up I shifted one gear harder and the progressive resistance on the trainer kicked back. My speed jumped to 18-mph but I was pushing the same watts I do on a Tuesday night at 26-mph. I held that for ten or fifteen minutes, then downshifted for a break. Five minutes later it was back into the hard gear and I held that for another ten before another break. The last five minutes were cranked out hard. I averaged, according to my speed sensor, a whopping 16-mph average for 45 minutes (chuckle).
When I rolled out of bed this morning I felt like I was 82. My calf muscles feel like they’re attached to piano wires. My butt is angry and sitting it out in the corner, moping and I’m generally wondering who hit me with a truck.
And I love it.
The cold leaves today, thankfully. It’ll be a little rough, just hitting 50 in my neighborhood, but tomorrow is supposed to be quite lovely. We’ll get rain Saturday which fits the schedule perfectly because my wife and I are getting our second jab tomorrow. I’m taking the day off, too. I’m going to ride in the morning with the Friday retiree gang (and my wife) and then we’re going to get our shot. Then we’ll have Friday afternoon and all day Saturday to shake the vaccine off before rolling out Sunday to what should be some glorious weather.
It’s going to be a light week on the bike, but I can feel the weight coming off nicely (my jeans, wedding ring and watch all fit just a little looser) and a rest week probably isn’t a bad idea, anyway. Back to normal is only two weeks away for me. Technically, it’s already here, but let’s keep that between us… I wouldn’t want Atilla the Whitmer to get wind I’m not quaking in my boots behind six masks and a face-shield over COVID. She might send her Rottweiler AG after me for showing a lack of piety to the Governmental Apparatus. We wouldn’t want that, now.
I rode 52-ish miles with my friends Sunday morning. After struggling with the vaccine flu much of the week, our CFO gave me a gift of a mild case of the sniffles, which, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t have been an issue – I doubt I’d have even gotten sick. Being drained from my body’s vociferous reaction to the vaccine, though, that case of the sniffles hit me hard. I was feeling pretty gnarly afterward.
Yesterday was another day, though. I woke up in a pool of my own sweat in the morning, so I figured I’d sweat it out the night before. I felt reasonably okay much of the day, though I faded as the day wore on. I made my way home a little early and managed a 15 minute nap before suiting up and that helped a lot. I rolled off down the road to pick Chuck up at 4:50, hoping I’d get to his house for the extra miles, but he met me about 3/4s of a mile up my street. I was feeling considerably better, but riding tends to run me down pretty quick of late and that usually means a rough night of sleep.
The plan was pretty simple; a nice, enjoyable 20-miler at a “Tuesday Night is tomorrow so let’s chill” pace. And that lasted for about two miles. I can’t remember if it was Chuck or me who took the pace up first, but it got hot in a hurry. I was on the Venge and it’s an absolute missile this year. Low and sleek in the front end, the Fast & Light 50 wheels… it’s just fast, solid and a wonder of perfectly solid craftsmanship. All of a sudden, we’re seven miles in looking at a 19.2-mph average and I start thinking, “Wait a minute… tomorrow’s TUESDAY NIGHT“.
I mentioned as much to Chuck and we both decided to dial it back considerably. While I struggled with being a little under the weather, the ride was fantastic and the conditions were spectacular (light breeze out of the south, partly cloudy, and room temperature).
And I paid for it last night. Worth it.
So, I don’t know if I’m going to head out to Lennon or not. I’m not 100% (hell, I’m not 80%), but there’s that need for speed that simply must be satisfied. Maybe I’ll go out and see how it goes… I’ll give it my best and if 80% isn’t good enough, I can simply slip off the back and take it home at my leisure. That’s probably how it’ll go.
One thing is for sure; I’ve had about enough of being sick for the next five or six years!